About Burgarella Dolls
The Burgarella doll company was founded in Rome in 1926. It was named after its founder Gaspare Burgarella. The doll designs are attributed to the Italian artist Ferdinando Stracuzzi. The dolls are known for their somewhat sad and thoughtful faces and high quality craftsmanship and were contemporaries of the famous Lenci dolls, many of the Burgarella dolls had colorful felt clothing similar to Lenci dolls of Turin and they were also expensive but found appeal among eager customers both in Italy and abroad. It is known that New York importers, Hoest and Henderson imported the dolls to the U.S. in 1929, however the company went out of business during the economic depression of the 1930's. Consequently these dolls are very rare today and only occasionally appear at auction.
Burgarella Doll Values
The large doll to the right pictured above in a pink dress was auctioned by Theriaults in January 2011, with a closing price of $2700 US dollars, with the following description: "Lot: 292. Large Italian Composition Doll by Burgarella with Original Costume
24" (61 cm.) Composition socket head depicting an older child with slightly-elongated throat,very full cheeks,painted large blue eyes with shaded detail,dark eyeliner,smoky eye shadow encircles the eyes,brown painted brows,accented nostrils,closed mouth with slightly-pouting expression,long brunette human hair braids with interwoven ribbons,jointing at shoulders,elbows,hips and knees,wearing original folklore-style costume and coiffe. Condition: generally excellent. Comments: Burgarella,circa 1930s. Value Points: rare-to-find doll with fine artistic painting of features and complexion,the rarity and artistic quality of the doll suggest it was a luxury doll of very limited make.
The smaller doll in the white lace trimmed dress, center front, sold for $1,600 on the same date and was described as"17" (43 cm.) Composition socket head depicting an older child, with elongated throat, nicely shaped face with pointy chin, painted brown side-glancing eyes, unusual grey shaded color in eyes, brown eyeliner, smoky eye shadow, feathered brows, beauty spot, closed mouth, brown mohair wig, jointing at shoulders, elbows, hips and knees, and wearing her original yellow cotton dress with embroidery. Condition: generally excellent. Comments: Burgarella Italy, circa 1930. Value Points: rare to find art character doll with beautifully-shaped face and artistic painting." The doll with no clothes in the center fetched $500 in 2006, described as "15" Italian Composition Doll by Burgarella 15" (38 cm.) Composition socket head with unusually shaped character face, painted blue eyes with dramatic eye liner and shadow, pointy nose, closed mouth with little pursed lips, brunette human hair, seven piece composition body with unique modeling. Condition: generally excellent. Burgarella, Italy, circa 1925, a rare doll"
The Baby doll pictured above left sold for $2600 US in Jan,2011 by Theriaults. Lot description was "All-Original Rare Italian Composition Character Doll by Burgarella w/ Original Tag 17" (43 cm.) All composition doll with socket head,very plump cheeks and chin of young child,sculpted and painted brown hair with forelock curl,paitned blue eyes,brown eyeliner,smoky eye shadow,feathered lashes,closed mouth with ruby lips,jointing at shoulders,elbows,hips and knees. Condition: generally excellent. Marks: Burgarella Made in Italy (costume). Comments: Burgarella,circa 1930. Value Points: rare and sought-after doll in fine unplayed with condition,the doll wears her original organdy dress with blue trim,matching bonnet,blue felt jacket with applique and embroidery,knit stockings,tan shoes with ankles strap,and has original cloth label on petticoat. Realized Price: 2600"
This doll pictured on the left in blue felt and organdy outfit was sold on ebay on 2010 for US $1,526.00 The description was as follows:"16" RARE BURGARELLA ANTIQUE ITALY LENCI TYPE DOLL 1920s 16" All original wonderful Italian Burgarella fully jointed composition art deco type doll. She is in beautiful all original condition with minor flaws. The only flaw I could see on the face is a faint nose rub. I noticed it after viewing the photos as it shows up more on your screen than in person. T are about 2 or 3 moth holes in the hat on the felt. T is one larger hole on the shoe (you can see it in picture number #9) and a few very minor ones. T are a couple of small holes on the front stripes and 2 or 3 on back. Overall, nothing detracting (her hair is somewhat "flattened" due to wearing her hat over the years.) A beautiful composition jointed body. These doll are not marked anywhere on the body. Her original slip is marked "Burgarella, Made In Italy." This doll was made by the Italian Burgarella Manufacturing Company in the 1920's - 1930's. The company was started in 1926 and disappeared in the mid 1930's. Their high quality items were imported to the U.S. by Holst & Henderson and were expensive as reported by Dorothy Coleman"
The oriental doll by Burgarella is particularily rare and was sold on eBay on Dec-03-10 at a closing price of $2800.00.
Description: "Rare 18"Burgarella ORIENTAL Composition Doll-Italy 1926 Description: Extremely rare and desirable vintage composition Burgarella doll with Asian/Oriental features. All composition highly colored child doll with very poseable composition and wood body with swivel head and spring-jointed at shoulders, elbows, hips and knees, straight wrists, big hands with separate fingers and elongated feet with defined toes. Very distinctive short face with round cheeks, almond shaped slanted brown painted eyes, small closed mouth and original black mohair wig piled up into a bun on top of the head. She is dressed as a young Geisha in her untagged but very probably factory original Japanese Yukata type Kimono, made of light fabric with floral print, lined in white silk with light blue collar, orange and white obi-sash, white taffeta slip, wooden Geta sandals and later hand fan added by her former owner. Unmarked, but we are certain that this doll is a genuine Burgarella doll made in Italy by Gaspare Burgarella, circa 1926's. Dimensions: 18 inches (46 cm) Tall. Condition: Clean and original finish with all fingers present. Old paint retouch to tip of nose, right toes has been glued in the past, worn paint to joints. Otherwise excellent overall condition. Note: Additional information on these gorgeous, elusive and highly collectable dolls can be found in the articles "Mystery Dolls" by Magda Byfield (Doll Reader magazine, 1983) and " The mysterious Burgarella " by Sherry Minton (Antique Trader, December 17, 2008.)"
Pair of Italian Composition Dolls by Burgarellla
Lot: 174. Rare, Pair of Italian Composition Dolls by Burgarellla auctioned by theriaults in 2003 Each 17" (43 cm). Each has composition socket- head with very plump shape, painted facial features, blue or brown painted eyes in seductive manner with painted eyeshadow, eyeliner, brows, tiny nose, closed mouth, very elaborate original ornate mohair wig in 17th-century court style, uniquely modeled plump composition body with jointing at shoulders, elbows, hips and knees, the man with anatomical detail. Condition: generally excellent. Comments: Burgarella of Italy, circa 1925. Value Points: dolls by this firm are rarely found, this pair has distinctive facial and body modeling, perfectly preserved original wig and elaborate court costumes. Realized Price: $2400
All original composition doll by GASPARE BURGARELLA (CIRCA 1925) - all original - height 16 inches - credit: Zygarlowski collection
Burgarella dolls at Rocca di Angera doll museum, Italy